Brookhaven Lab Employees Support Local Families for the Holidays

For the eighth holiday season in a row, employees at the U.S. Department of Energy’s Brookhaven National Laboratory helped their less fortunate neighbors by “adopting” local families and gifting them toys, clothing, and household necessities.   

The Adopt-a-Family program is organized by Colonial Youth and Family Services, a not-for-profit community-based youth and family agency located in Mastic, NY. Brookhaven Lab first participated in the program in 2012, after Hurricane Sandy devastated the Northeast. 

“We had such good feedback from the employees who participated in year one that we decided we would do it again, and we actually doubled the number of families we helped in the second year,” said Tara Shiels of the Stakeholder and Community Relations Office, who coordinates the Lab’s participation in Adopt-A-Family, along with her co-worker Robyn McKay. “This year was our biggest effort yet. For the first time ever, we needed a second truck to deliver all the gifts.”

In 2019, Brookhaven Lab employees adopted 27 families—about 20% of all the families who participated in the program. The Lab filled over 170 boxes with gifts specifically requested by their anonymous families. 

“Our employees are happy to do it,” Shiels said. “Once they get involved, they stick with it. It’s rewarding to connect with our community in this way.”

Brookhaven National Laboratory is supported by the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Science. The Office of Science is the single largest supporter of basic research in the physical sciences in the United States and is working to address some of the most pressing challenges of our time. For more information, visit

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2020-16934  |  INT/EXT  |  Newsroom